I'm a portrait artist originally from London, now living in the upper Swansea Valley. I take my inspiration from the Pre-Raphaelites and the painters of the Renaissance. Skill in drawing, and in the subtle and accurate use of colour, are vital to me as an artist. I want my portraits not only to draw out the essential character of my subjects, but to be appreciated for the quality of line and tone. I want visitors to my exhibitions to feel that the skill of an individual artist in drawing and painting is important.
My portraits are executed in pastel, in a unique hyper-realist style which has been praised by critics, the public, and the sitters themselves. The technique I have developed with pastel painting gives the work an incredibly rich, velvet finish. It also enables me to render accurately the textures of linen, leather, silk, wool, and of course, skin tones and hair. I also work in oils with equal facility.
I'm currently painting Olympic Stars, Past and Present. I have just completed my painting of Bernice Hooper, who would have represented Wales in swimming, had not World War Two intervened. I have made a start on the weightlifter David Morgan, who has competed in three Olympics, is World Masters record holder and has recently broken the world record in 'Crossfit'. Meanwhile I am continuing to paint critics, patrons, facilitators and arts practitioners. My opening show for this project will be at the Cynon Valley Museum, Aberdare, in May 2011.
'Poet Portraits' was a project in which I painted twenty poets with strong connections to Wales. My list included leading figures in contemporary Welsh literature in both languages, among them Wales' first National Poet Gwyneth Lewis, Dannie Abse, Twm Morys, Director of Academi Peter Finch, Owen Sheers, Samantha Rhydderch, Hilary Llewellyn-Williams, Christopher Meredith, Paul Groves, Grahame Davies, Tony Curtis, Paul Henry, Pascale Petit, Tim Liardet, Patrick McGuinness, Meic Stephens, Christine Evans, and Catherine Fisher.
The exhibition opened at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in December 2006, and has toured across Wales and to the Welsh Assembly Government Offices in Brussels. My portrait of Twm Morys was purchased by the National Library of Wales, and that of Grahame Davies by Wrexham Borough Council. Dannie Abse has recently been bought by a private collector. An accompanying book, Poet Portraits | Portreadau Beirdd has been published by Seren.
Sandy Nairne, when he was Director of the National Portrait Gallery, London issued a statement: "The Poet Portraits exhibition demonstrates the importance of contemporary portraiture in Wales and how the idea of the Hall of Fame can be refreshed and invigorated for new generations."